MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (KDKA) — Four fraternities at West Virginia University are threatening to renounce their affiliation with the university, unhappy with tough standards that WVU has put in place after the death of students, most recently at Penn State, but also in Morgantown.
“We have to be concerned about the safety of our students,” WVU President Gordon Gee told KDKA’s Jon Delano late Monday afternoon.
In 2014, 19-year-old Nolan Burch died as a result of intoxication poisoning at a fraternity hazing at Kappa Sigma with an alcohol content six times the legal limit.
In the wake of student deaths at these and other fraternities, Gee has taken a tough stand, setting new rules of conduct, including a ban on early freshman rushing.
“We reset the whole thing by going through re-certifying everyone,” he said.
But some fraternities objected to the new rules, said Gee.
“Objections to our alcohol policy, objections to the academic criteria that we’ve set up. There are a number of objections that they have, but let me point out that this is just a very few of our fraternities,” he added.
Among those threatening to operate outside the university while still rushing WVU students are Alpha Sigma Phi, Kappa Alpha, Phi Sigma Kappa, and Sigma Chi.
Gee sent a letter to parents, alerting them to what he calls the rogue fraternities.
“I do not want to define our fraternities and sororities by the actions of a few rogue groups,” Gee told KDKA. “I want to make sure everyone knows that we feel very comfortable about how the majority of our fraternities and sororities have reacted to this.”
Gee plans to meet with the rogue fraternities in an effort to work things out.
“If they have a misunderstanding about what we’re doing, then I’ll explain what we’re doing,” he said.
But don’t look for the rules to be relaxed.